A new father is a big pile of multiple emotions and a heart full of so much love for his new born that he feels it might explode. He is scared, happy, euphoric and worried at the same time, doing his best to understand this new game he has been chosen to play.
When the madness of running around in the hospital and managing visitors settles, and he is alone with his partner and baby, that’s when it hits him! “Hey, I am a Dad now, the new adult in the room!”
Here are a few things I’d like to tell a new Dad to help them navigate the waters a tad bit easily:
1. Don’t be afraid to pick up your new born. You won’t drop her, I promise. In fact you will be amazed at how fabulously she fits into your arms, as if tailor made for your snuggles.
2. After the initial euphoria has settled down, fear may creep in. The doctor has handed over your new born to you, and now you and your partner are in charge of a delicate life. It takes a few days of overwhelm before the joy of fatherhood can truly settle in. It’s okay to be scared. You will both figure out things along the way.
3. Your family’s future will play on your mind more than ever now. You will suddenly feel like you are ready to move mountains for this new little bundle of joy, and that you need to do as much as you can for your family. This will feel like a transition from being a boy to man in the true sense.
4. Your partner’s rage is not about you. Okay fine, it’s a little bit about you. But she is going through extreme emotions and along with working on healing herself physically, is sleep deprived and scared. You are the only person she can truly be herself with perhaps. Don’t take it to heart. Give her grace, give yourself grace. You are both doing your best.
5. You may find it hard to cope up with parenting and work. Sleepless nights, new experiences with the baby, exhaustion and having to work along with that will really drain you sometimes. But babies are born with magical powers and one look at your child will make everything else disappear.
6. Babies go through a lot of changes and issues initially. Watching your baby cry will be heart wrenching, because as a man you are conditioned to take care of things and fix them. Seeing your partner in distress will add to it. You will not be able to understand what’s bothering your baby, and that will truly upset you. But you will learn along the way. Nobody has it all figured out.
7. Those innumerable articles your wife keeps sending you in her free time? Read them in your free time! ( I can see you rolling your eyes already). It will help you both be on the same page.
8. You getting down on the ground level and taking care of your child is breaking generations of conditioning. You changing her diaper, and giving her a bath, burping her or rocking her to sleep is normalising this for so many fathers who want to do this but are told this is not a father’s ‘job.’ Keep going. We all are thankful to you.
9. You will see your partner in a new light now, more as your baby’s mother than your partner. Maybe the sex appeal will fizzle, maybe the general exhaustion of parenting will take over, or maybe watching her nurse, go through pain and worries will make you think that she needs space. Maybe she does. Or maybe she needs space from everybody else but also needs you to hold space for her as your partner. Don’t let your relationship take a back seat just because you are parents now. Marriage and parenting are not mutually exclusive. Companionship will help you parent better.
10. A baby will change everything about your life. Your view points, your social life, your dinner dates, your personal time, and your schedules. You may find yourself whispering “Happy New Year” to your wife on New Year’s Eve, instead of being happy high and screaming, well, because you are both scared to wake the baby up. Don’t let this make you feel bad. Don’t let this make you feel like your life is passing you by. This is the time to make new memories and new traditions with your family.
You are doing the best you can so pat your back. Also pat that belly because you may have a Dad-bod now! Don’t forget to enjoy this beautiful new-born phase because soon they will be driving you up the wall